How much does the Thomas Cromwell of popular novels and television series resemble the real Cromwell? This meticulous study of Cromwell's early political career expands and revises what has been understood concerning the life and talents of Henry VIII's chief minister. Michael Everett provides a new and enlightening account of Cromwell's rise to power, his influence on the king, his role in the Reformation, and his impact on the future of the nation. Controversially, Everett depicts Cromwell not as the fervent evangelical, Machiavellian politician, or the revolutionary administrator that earlier historians have perceived. Instead he reveals Cromwell as a highly capable and efficient servant of the Crown, rising to power not by masterminding Henry VIII's split with Rome but rather by dint of exceptional skills as an administrator.